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Looky Lou

Boston MA
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 19
  • helpful votes
  • 78
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  • The Last Days of Night

  • A Novel
  • By: Graham Moore
  • Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
  • Length: 13 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,470
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,217
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,198

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history - and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul's client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the lightbulb and holds the right to power the country?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Favorite book of 2016

  • By Taryn on 12-19-16

Just read this book.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-29-16

I confess to being attracted to this book because of its cover. It kept showing up in my Recommendations and I thought the title was intriguing. After reading the brief synopsis, I thought, why not? I hesitate to describe the book because just about any description is a spoiler of sorts. Just read it. The less you know about it, the better.

I will say this: excellent reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Romanovs

  • 1613-1918
  • By: Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Narrated by: Simon Beale
  • Length: 28 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 745
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 682
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 681

This is the intimate story of 20 tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence, and wild extravagance, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries, and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scholarly but gripping

  • By William on 06-16-16

A Sweeping Russian Epic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-14-16

Plunge head first into the rapidly flowing stream of Russian history, viewed through the prism of one dynastic ruling family. There is never a dull moment as the author links the first Romanov to the last. The history is exhilarating in the telling.

The narrator affects a dry, somewhat disinterested tone -- like a senior level diplomatic envoy relating the ongoing intrigues at court to his superiors at the home office.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb

  • 25th Anniversary Edition
  • By: Richard Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 37 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,760
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,631
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,623

Here for the first time, in rich human, political, and scientific detail, is the complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan. Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly - or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than 25 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow... Grade A+ ... Exceptional.

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-15-16

Compelling

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-27-16

I picked up this book in the early 90s and every few years or so, I would make a running start to try and get into it. In the last few months, I started listening to it as an audio book. I confess the scientific aspects of the book were (and still are) over my head but I followed along as best as I could. What I found most compelling was the way Richard Rhodes was able to paint a nuanced portrait of the time by setting the story in the context of history and the nature of scientific inquiry, and giving voice to the individuals involved -- policy makers and scientists, soldiers on the ground, and also the survivors.

Overall the reader was very good -- just a few unusual pronunciations of certain locations but nothing egregious. He doesn't sound like he's reading from a book -- just telling you a very interesting, complicated story.

  • Black Earth

  • The Holocaust as History and Warning
  • By: Timothy Snyder
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 16 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263

In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the 20th century and reveals the risks that we face in the 21st. Based on new sources from Eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think and thus all the more terrifying.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tough book but worth it!

  • By Amazon customer on 11-20-15

A masterfully written book.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-15

With the Holocaust slowly passing from living memory into the mists of the past, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding one of the most cataclysmic and prolonged bursts of violence in human history.

Regarding the performance of the narrator -- it was pitch perfect. The reading was clear and straightforward -- letting the subject matter speak for itself. It's challenging when there are so many names, places, and phrases that may be hard to pronounce for a native English-speaker but Mark Bramhall invariably makes the correct (or at least non-jarring) choice every time.

Worth listening to a second time.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Why Evolution Is True

  • By: Jerry A. Coyne
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,338
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 930
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 926

Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact. In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design", there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned: the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As great as everyone says it is

  • By Joseph on 12-01-10

Why You Should Read This Review

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-29-15

If you have an elementary (basic) grasp of evolution, this book will go into detail about the process -- citing scientific facts, fossil discoveries, etc.

My one criticism of the book is not in the content but in some of the creative choices made in the reading of the book -- in particular the narrator's choice to do an English accent when reading quotes by Charles Darwin. Most of the passages quoted are long and the narrator tends to slip in and out of some kind of English accent. It would have been preferable for the narrator to keep reading consistently in his native accent.

If you can bear the occasional jolt of the narrator's less-than-convincing English accent, you just might learn a lot from this book.

  • The Man from Beijing

  • By: Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator)
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 741
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 326
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 323

January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjvallen, nineteen people have been massacred. The only clue is a red ribbon found at the scene. Judge Birgitta Roslin has particular reason to be shocked: Her grandparents, the Andrns, are among the victims, and Birgitta soon learns that an Andrn family in Nevada has also been murdered. She then discovers the 19th-century diary of an Andrn ancestora gang master on the American transcontinental railwaythat describes brutal treatment of Chinese slave workers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Man From Beijing is a keeper

  • By Terry R. Mabry on 02-25-10

A fractured narrative

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-23-14

The story starts of with a horrific mass murder in a sleepy Swedish village. It is slowly revealed that there are international connections that stretch into the past. The story moves along at a pretty decent clip even though the narration switches back and forth from the present to the past and then back to the present. So far, so good.

I didn't expect to find a diatribe against capitalism and an extended paean to the glories of socialism with Mao Zedong and Robert Mugabe as its patron saints in the last third of the book. I kid you not. Regardless of your political affinities, you'll find the polemics, which go on for about 2 hours, stop the narrative cold. When the narrative restarts, I got the sense that the author had lost interest in the story and just wanted to wrap things up.

  • Reclaiming History

  • The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
  • By: Vincent Bugliosi
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 18 hrs and 5 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 618
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399

Polls reveal that 85 percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Some even believe Oswald was entirely innocent. In this encyclopedic, absorbing audiobook, Vincent Bugliosi shows how the public has come to believe such lies about the day that changed the course of history. Bugliosi has devoted almost 20 years of his life to this project, and is determined to show that, despite the overwhelming popular perception, Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Starts fast, ends a litte slow

  • By Adam Bedford on 06-16-12

Totally engrossing

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-26-14

An incredibly well-researched book, lucidly laid out.

If you subscribe to conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, this book is not for you. However, if you want a detailed account of the movements of the various individuals involved in the shooting -- this is the definitive account, short of going through the Warren Commission Report.

I must confess that I lost interest in the last third of the book because it deals with rebutting the various conspiracy theories. This is in now way the author's fault -- conspiracy theories bore me.

I recommend pairing this book with William Manchester's Death of a President which largely deals with the assassination from the point of view of the victim and his family, friends, and aides. Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History is more of a crime procedural in that it devotes a great deal of time to the event, pursuit, and apprehension of the assassin. The result of this pairing is a vivid portrait of a shocking and confounding event that has managed to leave an indelible mark on the American psyche.

  • In the Garden of Beasts

  • Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,672
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,703
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,704

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Frightening, Powerful, Deeply Thought-provoking.

  • By Chris on 06-04-11

A compelling microcosm of pre-WWII Germany

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-17-14

In the Garden of Beasts is a story of Germany in the years before the Second World War, seen through the lens of the experiences of the newly-appointed American ambassador and his family. The ambassador himself was not a career diplomat so he found himself an outsider in the cliques of the Foreign Service, in addition to being a man of conscience who found himself at odds with Nazism.

The book is superbly researched and presents an engaging narrative. Finishing this book, gave me the impetus to go back and finish The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer which I had started about 3 years ago.